The Guardian performed its own investigation into U.S. water testing practices and revealed startling results. Out of 43 cities east of the Mississippi, 33 from 17 states used shoddy methods to avoid detecting lead in their water. 21 cities used the same practices as Flint, which ultimately led to criminal charges. It’s not only small cities utilizing shady means, but big ones like Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

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The Guardian tried to obtain “water testing documents” from 81 cities and 43 offered information. The tricks used by officials include practices such as removing aerators, pre-flushing pipes, and running water slowly. All these practices potentially reduce the amount of lead that shows up in water samples. Sometimes officials didn’t test water in what they determined were “high-risk homes.”

Related: BREAKING: What Flint officials knew about the poisoned water, and when

In Michigan and New Hampshire, departments allowed employees to re-sample and toss out “results with high lead levels.” In Chicago and Philadelphia, officials requested that employees “test water safety in their own homes.” Some cities, citing security risk concerns, said they didn’t know where lead pipes were or didn’t conduct testing in the mandatory amount of homes with lead pipes.

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As a result of Flint’s water crisis, made possible because of similarly deceptive water-testing procedures, thousands of children may experience developmental issues. Studies have shown that even small amounts of lead are “associated” with behavioral and developmental issues. Mere exposure to lead is “linked” to an inclination “to commit violent crimes.”

Scientist Marc Edwards, who was instrumental in shining a light on the Flint water crisis, told the Guardian, “They make lead in water low when collecting samples for EPA compliance, even as it poisons kids who drink the water. Clearly, the cheating and lax enforcement are needlessly harming children all over the United States. If they cannot be trusted to protect little kids from lead in drinking water, what on Earth can they be trusted with? Who amongst us is safe?”

Via The Guardian

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